Just yesterday Erothanatos (from India) released its issue number 3 of volume 3, a collection of poets from several countries. I was honored to have seven poems appear in this issue and you can find them here:
You never read the ultimate autobiography which doesn’t exist unless you live in an Oulipian world. You can write up to the moment Of your death, and we would, if begrudgingly, conceded the last moments incompleteness, but you cannot write a true and complete autobiography without falling into the recursive abyss where everything that you say is suddenly autological and the reader collapses in on himself, a literary blackhole.
He says that foremost Mao Zedong was a poet, and knew that all poetry must at some level be political, must incite the reader to rebel against complacency. I say that Zhao Zhenkai wrote as Bei Dao as the ultimate act of rebellion, sacrificing his very identity. He says that I am anchored by the weight of realism, and I say that he needs reeducation. She says that neither of us will ever write the just open bloom of spring’s first rose.
First appeared in the May 2019 Issue of The Broadkill Reivew
It was a Tuesday in October or a Wednesday in March, hard to say which, but evening. We had taken a cab from the Hyatt Embarcadero or the Fairmont, it didn’t much matter, and sat in the Chinese restaurant on the edge of Chinatown, or a pasta and seafood joint in North Beach, and you said it was a small earthquake, while I was certain it was the waiter who drained the half empty wine glasses en route to the kitchen. We walked slowly along the street past the “World Famous Condor” in all its tacky glory, and I said it was the birthplace of silicon, we had Carol Doda to thank for that and you said I was perverted and suggested we go across the street to the club featuring nude dancers, but I balked when I saw they were men. Finally we compromised and walked around the corner to the City Lights. You wandered impatiently around while I stood transfixed in the poetry section, a warren of shelves, a ladder on wheels and corners, and held, almost fondled a fresh copy of Coney Island of the Mind. I read it slowly, a man stood behind me shifting his weight from foot to foot, “It’s not all that good, adequate, but there’s Bukowski and Ginsberg.” Without looking back, I reached for Gasoline. “At least that’s a good choice,” he said and in growing anger I turned and sneered into the nose of Lawrence Ferlinghetti.
First Published in Creative Juices, December 1998.
Reality is clearly something to be avoided to be dressed up in tattery, tied in ribbons, perfumed, yet its fetid stench is always lurking in the background waiting to pierce your nostrils in an incautious moment until you retch and bring up the bile that marks the darker moments of your life, the kind that lingers in the throat which no chocolate can erase. Reality is often ugly, so we ignore it or hide it behind masks, or offer it willingly to others, a gift in surfeit. It sneaks up on you, and sets its hook periodically, and thrash as you will the barb only tears through new flesh, setting itself deeper, intractable. You and I are dying, as I write, as you read, an ugly thought particularly lying in bed staring into darkness, no motion or sound from your spouse, mate, paramour, friend, significant other or teddy bear, where God is too busy to respond at the moment and sleep is perched in the bleachers, held back by the usher for want of a ticket stub, content to watch the game from afar. I cast ink to paper, an offer of reality as though the divorce from the words will erase the little pains and anguishes of our ever distancing marriage, while holding vainly onto the warm and sweet, the far side of the Mobius of reality (the skunk is at once ugly and soft and caring). We write of pain, of ugliness, of anger at terrible lengths, or weave tapestries of words to cover the flawed, stained walls of our minds, like so many happy endings, requisite in the script. Basho knew only too well that truth of beauty should be captured in few syllables.
First appeared in Chaminade Literary Review Vols. 16-17 (1995)